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Poster: Solo Head Date: Jun 29, 2009 7:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

What do you think was the most difficult song that the GD sang? AND can you point to a stellar version of that song.
My vote is post 1980's Cumberland Blues. Off the top of my head I can't recall a stellar version. Any thoughts?

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Poster: barongsong Date: Jun 29, 2009 11:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Yea I know what you mean about Cumberland vocals especially after 80 but I swear I heard one in the last month that was actually later era where they nail it. I'm going to say 9-26-91 again but don't have time to check if that was the one right now, but it maybe a place to start. Hmmmm

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Poster: mcgannahan Date: Jun 29, 2009 3:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

blues for allah

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Poster: spacedface Date: Jun 29, 2009 8:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Any Beatles song, or any Phil song (at least after '75). Highway 61 to the tune of Truckin' was funny but not pleasant.

There's good versions of The Wheel, Crazy Fingers, High Time, etc even in the late 80s.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jun 29, 2009 8:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Not as a solo vocalist, but the harmony vocal opener on Jack Straw was screwed as many times as it was right. Another fairly simple country harmony that was rarely correct was "The Wheel."

As far as I know, no more compelling version of Wheel exists beyond the original studio version on Garcia.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jun 29, 2009 9:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Earl is 100% right about "The Wheel."

When they try and harmonize the "Shine"s in "Stella Blue" (around '76), it never ever works....

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jun 29, 2009 8:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Agree on "Wheel"....every live version i've ever heard makes me wince as they all butcher the opening harmonies (Donna especially)...

another tricky one was "Dupree's Diamond Blues", mostly because of the rising vocal change they had to do in the chorus section ("Well you know son, you just can't figure...")...most versions are pretty crappy BUT most excellent--really flawless--version can be found on Dicks Picks Volume 18 ..from the 2/3/78 show at Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Really great.

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Poster: snori Date: Jun 29, 2009 12:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Coincidentally today's TDIH (76) features a 'Wheel' that was included on So Many Roads, I think. There seem to be mic problems at the start of the singing, but after that I think it's OK. They're never going to be Gram and Emmylou, but not many are (Robert and Alison this includes you.) Actually this is a fine show I've been enjoying on an increasingly hot day here in the UK. http://www.archive.org/details/gd76-06-29.sbd.bertha.31144.sbeok.flacf

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jun 29, 2009 3:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Love that 6/29/76 show...kinda underrated in that the month of June that year had so many really fine shows.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 1:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

I have to second that being a huge Gram fan. AND I am the only one who thinks the Krauss Plant thing is completely over rated? I think Krauss sings like an angel but Plant doesn't do that much for me on this one ( and I am a big Zep fan ). Maybe in his younger years like that awesome duet with Sandy Denny who by the way did a MUCH superior version of Gone Gone Gone that can be found on this collection, one of my favs

http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/fairport/records/heyday.html

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Poster: snori Date: Jun 30, 2009 12:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Completely agree JOTS. Plant/Krause are the emperor's new clothes. All the hype and I stood there thinking 'am I the only one who thinks this isn't even average ?' My partner introduced me to both Fairports/Sandy, and Gram/Emmylou (together and separately). In return I introduced her to the Grateful Dead. Fortunately that went well.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Jun 29, 2009 10:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

There are many versions of Terrapin (especially, when as mentioned before, his voice begins to take on the gravelly feel of an old country back road: beautiful at times, but also containing the occasional pot hole that will eat your car) that makes my lower intestine crawl up my spinal column in an attempt throttle my brain in order to make the pain stop (c'mon, admit it, when Jerry attempts to belt out that crowing "TERRAPIN!!!", his voice quite often decides to stop at the train station and run itself over). IMHO, of course.

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2009-06-29 17:03:35

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Poster: Morning Dewd Date: Jun 29, 2009 11:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Mason's Children was a rough one, but they do pull it off in the studio here.
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-workingmans-outtakes.sbd.7319.sbeok.shnf

This 1970 period was a high watermark for vocal harmonies.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 29, 2009 11:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

yeah--I know CLIFF likes this one, but the vocals never work for me...I haven't heard one that matches what they do with Attics or somesuch, at least once or twice...music is good though (ie, playing, not singing).

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 29, 2009 9:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Can't believe no one mentioned CCharlie and the Eleven...

Those are tough...try to sing along some time...

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 30, 2009 6:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Cosmic Charlie, the Eleven, for sure ; but also, think how often the bungle, some part of St. Stephen , and how many time they must have played it !
One of the endearing things about the Dead was often they could be musically, clumsy, or inept , but still get that THING the hordes of more "professional " musicians can't access . As Phil said, "Lame, but noble ".

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 30, 2009 8:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Yep; they are generally good with StSt early on, and I esp like the Jun 68 versions in which just Jerry sings, with a little backup from Phil...how he says "Ste-Fan" in some verses, and then there is the replacement/screwups on various sequences: hmmm...which are escaping me right now! But have to do with whether it's "narrow" and "arrow" or who bids the day or darkness goodbye, etc., etc.

Jeezzz, you'd think I would have these memorized by now! I've listened to it as many times as they played it!

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Poster: shorthopper88 Date: Jun 29, 2009 10:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

on top of that, try to sing in harmony with 2 other people

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jun 29, 2009 11:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

on top of that, try to do it while all three people are fucked up on different things.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 29, 2009 2:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

That describes my living room when we try this!

How'd you know?

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 10:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Jerry always said that High Time was one he never thought he could do justice to.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 29, 2009 11:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Yep--I always liked the tune, but recall him saying that...other folks that I have played it for say the same thing (ie, those that know how to sing). I think he does a good job on the album...

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 12:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

It's not your era Tell but I'd like to hear you prove that 76 wasn't better than 70 even for that song. I think 76 was the year for that tune

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 29, 2009 12:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Easily proved--that was six yrs AFTER he hired his REPLACEMENT "Jerry", since he didn't have enough time to play and score drugs (he was building up a supply for 78-85).

Ironically, he got his way: more free time, AND someone ELSE was singing it afterall!

Que Twilight Zone theme now...

Hmmm, I almost cringe thinking about it, but might have to look it up; which one?

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jun 29, 2009 1:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

That was why he had Rock.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 12:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

here are a couple of my favs. 6-19 is my favorite

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1976-06-19.prefm.nickspicks.10186.shnf

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1976-06-09.sbd.miller.95399.sbeok.flac16

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jun 29, 2009 1:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

JOTS is right about the '76 High Times, although I am partial to that year, therefore biased. Those versions really sparkle and the vocals are as good as it gets for live performances...

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 1:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

" JOTS is right "

That has a nice ring to it. : )

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Poster: deadmax Date: Jun 30, 2009 6:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

I'm with you on both of those and your opinions about '76. I just finished listening to all 19 shows in June and I am astounded at how musically refined they are.

My favorite High Time from June is the 23rd. This is one of the most unique versions I've heard. Haunting.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd76-06-23.moore.vernon.15534.sbeok.shnf

The sound isn't great but it's very listenable.

Let me know what you think.

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jun 29, 2009 8:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

The band’s harmonies got pretty good(with some notable misfires) around the time they were having to work on them a lot for Workingman’s and American Beauty, then basically went down the toilet. Unlike the GD's approach to their musical instruments, when it comes to singing in harmony you can’t just walk on stage and wing it; it requires practice. You either get it right or you get it wrong. I know this show has been cited many times, but try the 6/24/70 "Attics" for an example of the Dead actually nailing the harmony vocals. Yeah, it's an audience tape, but it's a great moment from an awesome show.

Bottom line: the Dead did many things well, but singin' wasn't one of 'em. Garcia was about their best vocalist (up until his vocals chords started to succumb to drugs and Camels) and even he really didn't have a good voice; just incredibly intuitive phrasing and an emotional delivery that went far beyond his technical limitations as a singer. Weir was never much more than adequate even on his best nights, and for poor Phil…well, as someone posted here the other day: For years, it was “Let Phil sing”, then once he did it was like “Make Phil stop!”

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Poster: high flow Date: Jun 29, 2009 9:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

The Star Spangled Banner. Nyuck, Nyuck.

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Poster: patkelleyPA Date: Jun 29, 2009 7:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

Crazy Fingers. There are no really good live versions.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffskb archives Date: Jul 2, 2009 4:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

66/17/75, 9/21/82 and 10/8/83 are very good versions.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 29, 2009 8:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

this is a pretty damn good version imo and the one two punch into one of my favorite deals makes it one of my favorites

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1988-04-01.sbd.miller.91160.sbeok.flac16

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Jun 30, 2009 9:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Difficult Song to Sing?

If i had the world to give